Here is an excerpt from an article written by Sarah Green or the Harvard Business Review blog. To read the complete article, check out other articles and resources, and/or sign up for a free subscription to Harvard Business Review’s Daily Alerts, please click here.
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This slideshow is based on Failure to Communicate: How Conversations Go Wrong and What You Can Do to Right Them by Holly Weeks. To check it out, please click here.
Here are four of the nine common mistakes. To see the complete program, please click here.
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When difficult conversations turn toxic, it’s often because we’ve made a key mistake: we’ve fallen into a combat mentality. This allows the conversation to become a zero-sum game, with a winner and a loser. But the reality is, when we let conversations take on this tenor – especially at the office – everyone looks bad, and everyone loses. The real enemy is not your conversational counterpart, but the combat mentality itself. And you can defeat it, with strategy and skill.
Mistake #2: We try to oversimplify the problem.
If the subject of your argument were straightforward, chances are you wouldn’t be arguing about it. Because it’s daunting to try and tackle several issues at once, we may try to roll these problems up into a less-complex Über-Problem. But the existence of such a beast is often an illusion. To avoid oversimplifying, remind yourself that if the issue weren’t complicated, it probably wouldn’t be so hard to talk about.
The key to avoiding oversimplification is respecting the problem you’re trying to resolve. To avoid the combat mentality, you need to go further – you need to respect the person you’re talking to, and you need to respect yourself. Making sure that you respond in a way you can later be proud of will prevent you from being thrown off course if your counterpart is being openly hostile.
Fear, anger, embarrassment, defensiveness – any number of unpleasant feelings can course through us during a conversation we’d rather not have. Some of us react by confronting our counterpart more aggressively; others, by rushing to smooth things over. We might even see-saw between both counterproductive poles. Instead, move to the middle: state what you really want. The tough emotions won’t evaporate. but with practice, you will learn to focus on the outcome you want in spite of them.
Here is the March 2 edition of the New York Times Hardcover Business Best Sellers. I’ll have a couple of observations at the bottom of this post.
|1||THE INVESTMENT ANSWER, by Daniel C. Goldie and Gordon S. Murray. (Business Plus, $18.) Five questions every investor should ask. (†)|
|2||THE 4-HOUR WORKWEEK, by Timothy Ferriss. (Crown, $22.) Reconstructing your life so that it’s not all about work. (†)|
|3||OUTLIERS, by Malcolm Gladwell. (Little, Brown, $27.99.) Why some people succeed — it has to do with luck and opportunities as well as talent — from the author of “Blink” and “The Tipping Point.”|
|4||SUPER RICH, by Russell Simmons with Chris Morrow. (Gotham, $22.50.) The rap impresario defines wealth to include an inner peace.|
|5||HOW THE WEST WAS LOST, by Dambisa Moyo. (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $25.) Fifty years of economic folly.|
|6*||AS ONE, by Marhdad Baghai and James Quigley. (Portfolio/Penguin, $40.) A study of successful workplace collaborations. (†)|
|7||THE TOTAL MONEY MAKEOVER, by Dave Ramsey (Thomas Nelson, $24.99.) Debt reduction and fiscal fitness for families, by the radio talk-show host. (†)|
|8||DISCIPLINED DREAMING, by Josh Linkner. (Jossey-Bass/Wiley, $26.95.) A guide to encouraging creativity in the workplace. (†)|
|9*||SWITCH, by Chip Heath and Dan Heath. (Broadway Business, $26.) How everyday people can effect transformative change at work and in life. (†)|
|10||SCORECASTING, by Tobias J. Moskowitz and L. Jon Wertheim. (Crown Archetype, $26.) The hidden forces that shape how sports games are played, won and lost.|
|11||DELIVERING HAPPINESS, by Tony Hsieh. (Grand Central, $23.99.) Lessons from business (pizza place, worm farm, Zappos) and life. (†)|
|12||STRENGTHS BASED LEADERSHIP, by Tom Rath and Barry Conchie. (Gallup, $24.95.) Three keys to being a more effective leader. (†)|
|13||THE DAY AFTER THE DOLLAR CRASHES, by Damon Vickers. (Wiley, $29.95.) Achieve financial stability in the rise of the New World Order.|
|14||DRIVE, by Daniel H. Pink. (Riverhead, $26.95.) What really motivates people is the quest for autonomy, mastery and purpose, not external rewards.|
|15||REWORK, by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson. (Crown Business, $22.) Counterintuitive rules for small-business success, like “Ignore the details early on” and “Good enough is fine.” (†)|
An observation, or two, or three:
The financial crisis continues to draw readers. This month, a new book (to me) makes its appearance: How the West was Lost: Fifty Years of Financial Folly, by Dambisa Moyo. I have presented synopses of The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine by Michael Lewis, All the Devils Are Here: The Hidden History of the Financial Crisis by Bethany McLean and Joe Nocera, and This Time Is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly by Carmen M. Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff.
By the way, there is a clear consensus that the financial collapse of 2008 was a long time in the making: 50 years according to Moyo, 30 years according to McLean and Nocera, and a recurring pattern of eight centuries, according to Reinhart and Rogoff.
There are “long-timers” on the list, like Outliers and The 4-Hour Work Week. We do not present “finance/investment” books at the First Friday Book Synopsis. We have presented #s 2, 3, 9, 11, 12, 14, and 15 at our event.
So it looks like this list has three possibilities for future selections for our monthly event: As One, by Marhdad Baghai and James Quigley, Disciplined Dreaming, by Josh Linkner, and Scorecasting, by Tobias J. Moskowitz and L. Jon Wertheim. (By the way, Karl gave me a copy of Scorecasting, and is lobbying me to present this book).
How to create “a unique and valuable position” by deciding what to do…and not do
This volume is one of several in a new series of anthologies of articles that initially appeared in the Harvard Business Review, in this instance from 1960 until 2006. Remarkably, none seems dated; on the contrary, if anything, all seem more relevant now than ever before as their authors discuss what are (literally) essential dimensions of formulating and then executing an effective strategy.
My own opinion is that strategies are “hammers” that drive tactics (“nails) and the key is to get a strategy in proper alignment with the ultimate objectives as well as with an organization’s various activities. That said, what we have in this volume is a variety of thoughtful perspectives on strategy provide by those who are among the world’s most highly-regarded authorities on the subject.
More specifically, the reader learns how to understand what strategy is and isn’t as well as what it does and (doesn’t) do, and, how to manage/leverage the five competitive forces that shape strategy (Michael E. Porter); also, how to build a company’s vision (James C. Collins and Jerry I. Porras), how to reinvent a business model (Mark W. Johnson, Clayton M. Christensen, and Henning Kagermann), how to formulate and then execute a “blue ocean strategy” (W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne), how to take full advantage of the “secrets” of effective strategy execution (Gary L. Neilson, Karla L. Martin, and Elizabeth Powers), how to use the Balanced Scorecard as a strategic management system (Robert S. Kaplan and David P. Norton), how to transform corner-office strategy into frontline action (Orit Gadiesh and James L. Gilbert), how to turn great strategy into great performance (Michael C. Mankins and Richard Steele), and gain a much better understanding of how clear decision roles enhance organizational performance (Paul Rogers and Marcia Blenko).
Each article includes two invaluable reader-friendly devices, “Idea in Brief” and “Idea in Practice” sections, that facilitate, indeed expedite review of key points. Some articles also include what I characterize as “business nuggets” in which their authors focus on even more specific subjects such as “Finding New Positions: The Entrepreneurial Edge” (Porter, Page 10), “Big Hairy, Audacious Goals Aid Long-Term Vision” (Collins and Porras, 96), “A snapshot of blue ocean creation” (Kim and Mauborgne, 130-132), “Translation vision and strategy: four perspectives” and “Managing strategy: four processes” (Kaplan and Norton, 172 & 173), and “A Decision-Making Primer” (Rogers and Blenko, 236-237).
These ten articles do not – because they obviously cannot – explain everything that one needs to know and understand about the formulation and execution of an effective strategy. However, I do not know of another single source at this price (currently $14.23 from Amazon) that provides more and better information, insights, and advice that will help leaders to achieve success in the business dimensions explained so well by the authors of the articles in this volume.